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Negi held by Rijnaarts in Leiden chess tourney

Leiden (The Netherlands): Grandmaster and Asian champion Parimarjan Negi suffered a setback after drawing with Sjef Rijnaarts of Holland in the second round of the sixth edition of Leiden International chess tournament.

After scoring an easy victory in the opener, Negi, the second youngest Grandmaster ever, fell prey to some finely crafted manoeuvres by Rijnaarts after missing out on an advantageous position earlier.

The draw left the second seeded Negi on 1.5 points and he is now in joint 14th position in the nine-round tournament.

Grandmaster S Kidambi managed to win his second game on the trot to be among 13 leaders after the second round. Local hopeful Vincent Blom could not match the wily Indian who played with white pieces.

In the shocker of the day, top seed German Grandmaster Igor Khenkin lost to Alexander Van Beek of Holland. It was a cracker of a game in which fortunes fluctuated a few times and Van Beek had the final say.

With top two seeds dropping points, Predrag Nikolic of Bosnia, Bartosz Socko of Poland and David Howell of England emerged as the front runners with seven rounds still to come.

Amongst other Indians in the fray, Grandmaster S Arun Prasad played out a draw with Nathanael Spaan of Holland while GM M R Lalith Babu opened his account at the expense of Rudolf Kat, also of Holland.

Lalith Babu had lost the opening round when he failed to spot a simple tactic against Harmen Van Halderen, rated more than 400 points below him.

Negi faced an off-beat Sicilian as white but was soon on known paths as he executed a king side attack according to the demand of the position.

Rijnaarts had the option of defending a bad position or hunt for the counter active measures and he chose the latter by sacrificing a central pawn. It was a superior position for Negi which, on an average day, his fans would have expected him to convert.

A slight inaccuracy brought Rijnaarts back into the contention and his 24th move was clear indication that the game was headed for a draw. The peace was signed vide perpetual checks 11 moves later.

Like Negi, Arun Prasad was also held to a draw by a player rated more than 300 points below him. Nathanael Spaan was the beneficiary of a half point after doing the hard work in the Sozin variation of the Sicilian defense.

Playing black, Arun Prasad felt the heat and decided to play it safe. The result was a draw in 29 moves through repetition of moves.

Important and Indian results round 2 (Indians unless specified): Alexander Van Beek (Ned, 2) beat Igor Khenkin (Ger, 1); Parimarjan Negi (1.5) drew with Sjef Rijnaarts (Ned, 1.5); Julian Van Overdam (Ned, 1) lost to Predrag Nikolic (Bih, 2); Bartosz Socko (Pol, 2) beat Vladimir Zakhartsov (Rus, 1); Berthold Rabus (Ger, 1) lost to David Howell (Eng, 2); Evgeny Vorobiov (Rus, 2) beat Erik Van der Raaf (Ned, 1); Nathanael Spaan (Ned, 1.5) drew with S Arun Prasad (1.5); Benjamin Bok (Ned, 2) beat Olga Vrublevskaya (Rus, 1); S Kidambi (2) beat Vincent Blom (Ned, 1); M R Lalith Babu (1) beat Rudolf Kat (Ned, 0).

PTI

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